(Photo by ©AV Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
You might expect a list of Australian horror films to be teeming with the beasties people associate with the continent: poisonous snakes, deadly spiders, mammoth crocs. Yet while this collection of essential Aussie horror flicks does contain several of those Down Under biters – two crocodile movies, one shark movie, and one about a giant wild boar (didn’t see that coming, did ya?!) – it also features works that tap into something just as threatening: the vast land itself, from the mystery of its desert center to the dark possibilities of its cities’ sprawling suburbs. Movies like Wolf Creek and Road Games play with our anxiety about who, and what, we might encounter dare we venture into the endless Outback, while Hounds of Love and The Babadook explore what might lie behind your neighbor’s door.
Recent international breakouts like Jennifer Kent’s Babadook and Natalie Erika James’ atmospheric haunted house chiller Relic traffic in the slow-building dread of today’s “elevated horror,” but Australian genre films have been largely marked by a certain hard brutality over the years. Consider Wolf Creek and its sequel, or the more recent Killing Ground, which tell ripped-from-the-headlines slasher tales of terrorized backpackers and campers, but do so with an almost merciless insistence on graphic, real-feeling violence. And while we’re talking brutal, check out The Loved Ones, a darkly comic tale of obsession that found new ways to drill into the torture porn trend of the 2000s.
To be included in the list, movies had to be made and set in Australia, by a predominantly Australian crew. They also had to have more than 10 reviews – which is why the great maybe-horror Bad Boy Bubby, with only nine Tomatometer-approved reviews, didn’t make the cut; ditto the excellent anthology Dark Place. We then culled the selection down to the 20 highest-rated movies, which included a couple of Rotten-but-fun (Bait) or seminal flicks (Patrick), and even a Jamie Lee Curtis sort-of-slasher. (Yes, Curtis’s Final Girl phase even took her to entirely different hemispheres.) Purists may quibble with the choice to include Phillip Noyce’s Dead Calm, a twisty and taut three-hander with Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, and Billy Zane – it’s not horror in the traditional sense, perhaps, but it will have you squirming. As will Justin Kurzel’s The Snowtown Murders (released as just Snowtown in Australia), a crime drama with grisly horror elements you won’t soon forget. Take shots at us in the comments if you must, but won’t regret watching them.
With all that said, here are the 20 highest-rated Australian horror films, according to the Tomatometer.
Best Spanish-Language Horror Movies | Best Korean Horror Movies | Best Italian Horror Movies | Best French Horror Movies | Best Japanese Horror Movies
2020’s Best Horror Movies | 200 Best Horror Movies Ever
(Photo by Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection)
There are major differences between crocodiles and alligators – different snout sizes, one calls saltwater home, the other fresh – but we imagine they’re all negligible when you’re staring down a reptilian maw of serrated teeth. Their crushing jaws, tough exteriors, and peculiar elongated shapes have made them the villains in some vibrant monster movies, ranging from horror comedies (Lake Placid), summer blockbusters (Rampage), and near-classics (Rogue). Those will soon be joined by Crawl, a wind-and-rain–swept action flick from the director of Piranha 3D, so we’re taking a tumble in the swamp by ranking all the best and worst crocodile and alligator movies by Tomatometer!
Sparred by the triumphant onscreen return of a certain Johnny Rico, we turn
our DVD-minded focus to a few stars of yesterday popping up in new DVD releases
this week: Casper van Dien, Christopher Lambert, and Heather Graham. Also, check
out this week’s geek-tastic new releases: a Starship Troopers box set, Code
Monkeys, and Captain James Tiberius Kirk’s restored adventures aboard the
Casper Van Dien is back in Starship Troopers: Marauder
If you know the name Johnny Rico, then you know Casper van Dien. Back in 1997,
Van Dien turned in a career-defining performance as the brash “roughneck”
recruit Rico in
Starship Troopers; since that breakout role, he
appeared in no less than 28 (mostly made-for-TV or direct-to DVD) films. This
week Van Dien returns, eleven years later, to the franchise that kicked off his
career. (Read Casper van Dien’s Five Favorite Films here and hear what Rico’s up
against in Starship Troopers 3.)
Exclusive: Watch two exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes about the new weaponry and the Marauder powersuit from Starship Troopers 3!
Unnecessary DVD re-release of the week: Christopher Lambert’s
In the world of home video, it seems everything old can become new again when
re-masterings, retrospective commentaries, or new footage come into play. But
what if no new changes are made whatsoever? Don’t check out Lionsgate’s new
re-release of Stuart Gordon‘s
Fortress, the horror veteran’s schlocky-but-entertaining
sci-fi flick from 1993 starring direct-to-video king
Christopher Lambert. In it,
Lambert stars as an Army officer imprisoned when he and his wife decide to
conceive more than the allotted one child per couple; highlights include what
happens when unruly prisoners get “intestined.” But anyone looking for further
insights from Gordon or even Lambert will be duly disappointed; the new release,
out this week, is merely a repackaged version of Artisan’s 2001 release. As for
Lambert, he’s since returned to his bread-and-butter — direct-to-video and
foreign language films – though we are excited at the thought of him
resurrecting Lord Rayden for a 2010 Mortal Kombat sequel.
The Where-Has-Heather-Graham-Gone Update of the Week
Speaking of celebrities who’ve fallen off the face of Planet Hollywood, this
week we stumble across
Heather Graham. Once an in-demand Hollywood Roller Girl,
Graham has taken to appearing in tiny indie and DVD flicks in the past few
years: a travel writer in the romantic-comedy
Cake; a hot lesbian in the
romantic comedy Gray Matters; a hot lesbian in the dark drama
see a trend here?) This week Graham’s back with another quirky indie:
Conception, the comic tale of one woman’s quest to conceive a child at any costs
before her “baby making days” are over.
Click for this week’s new releases!
Abigail Breslin continues to steal the title of America’s Sweetheart from Dakota
Fanning with her starring role as Nim Rusoe, the precocious, self-sufficient
daughter of a scientist (Gerard Butler) who has lived her whole life on – you
guessed it! – an island. Critics were mixed on the fantasy-adventure, but gave
kudos to the flick (and to producer/co-star
Jodie Foster as a neurotic writer)
for offering wholesome, well-intentioned counterprogramming for the Bratz crowd.
Amusing animated CGI sequences could look great on Blu-ray; deleted scenes,
featurettes, and commentaries by both husband and wife directors Mark Levin and
Jennifer Flackett and stars Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin flesh out the
Still upset about the video game crash of 1983? Is your old Atari 2600 gathering
dust in the attic while the young folk rock out to Guitar Hero? Cheer up by
watching Code Monkeys, G4’s original animated series chronicling the employees
of the fictitious GameaVision video game company during the 1980s. Code Monkeys
combines South Park-style humor with 8-bit animation and features cameos by tech
celebrities like Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax, God of War developer
David Jaffe, and Steve Wozniak as the “CEO” of GameaVision who leaves to start a
little company called Apple.
Shout Factory’s 2-disc release includes Behind the Scenes of Code Monkeys, Daily
Pranks, gaming tips from G4’s Kristin Holt, original GameaVision games, and
Austria nabbed its first Academy Award when The Counterfeiters won Best Foreign
Film last February; this week, the World War II tale comes to DVD. Based on the
real-life memoirs of Adolph Burger, the critically-acclaimed drama follows the
harrowing experiences of Holocaust victims forced to work for Nazis in exchange
for their lives.
Delve deeper into the film and the events that inspired it with commentaries and
interviews with director Stefan Ruzowitzky, star Karl Markovics, and Holocaust
survivor/memoirist Burger himself.
Breaking news: we’ve got a film this week about a giant killer crocodile, and
it’s got a fresh Tomatometer!! Suspend your disbelief long enough to rent this
creature feature, starring
Radha Mitchell and
Michael Vartan, about a tour group
terrorized in the outback by Australia’s native predator. (Where’s Paul Hogan
when you need him?)
Check out commentary by writer/director Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), a making-of
documentary shot by the director himself, and a few additional features.
How should you prepare for the debut of Starship Troopers: Marauder, writer Ed Neumeier’s directorial debut and the long-awaited return of Johnny Rico? By
picking up the entire trilogy on Blu-ray, available in a three-film box set or
individually this week! Watch Marauder in Blu-ray’s Picture-in-Picture mode to
watch pop-up trivia about new characters, weapons and story. Even the first
Starship Trooper film has been plumped with new Blu-ray features including
pop-up retrospective comments and a Starship Troopers trivia test.
Tons of Marauder-focused extras accompany the release, including commentary with
Ed Neumeier, Casper Van Dien, and Jolene Blalock, features on the newly
introduced Bugs and weapons, and a music video for the satirical government
anthem, “It’s a Good Day to Die.”
Hardcore Trekkers may already own Star Trek: The Original Series on DVD or VHS,
but this week’s debut has something none of the previous home video releases
did: remastered versions of the complete second season! Originally re-broadcast
in 2006, the updated Original Series featured additional CGI effects, recomposed
scenes, and updated image and sound. Season Two also features such memorable
episodes as “The Doomsday Machine” and “The Trouble with Tribbles.”
No new materials can be found on this 8-disc release, though the set is packed
with enough previously released featurettes, documentaries, and commentaries to
keep you engaged in Star Trek lore. However, this is only a standard release,
with no news yet of Blu-ray plans; still, for diehard fans the set will be worth
its weight in quatloo.
While sitting on a Comic Con panel, Frank Miller was asked about the hold-up on Sin City 2. (Numerous times, probably.) And it looks like the celebrated author / artist / filmmaker is laying the blame solely at the feet of the Weinstein brothers.
Could it be that Grindhouse threw a monkey wrench into future Weinstein production plans? Sheer speculation on my part, but I’d have thought a Sin City sequel would be a no-brainer by this point. Then again, both Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are presently hard at work on other projects — to say nothing of the large number of busy actors who’d be needed. So there’s probably enough "blame" to go around, really.
According to Dark Horizons, Mr. Miller "confirmed that he and Robert Rodriguez have a script ready – an adaptation of A Dame to Kill and some of the book’s other short stories — but left the cryptic hint that the Weinstein’s themselves are part of the hold up — likely tying into the fledgling distributor’s lack of success so far at the box-office."
OK, so the Weinsteins didn’t exactly set the world on fire with Grindhouse, Miss Potter, Bobby, The Matador, Derailed, Pulse, Breaking and Entering, Harsh Times, DOA: Dead or Alive, The Gathering, Unknown, The Ex, Nomad, School for Scoundrels, Black Christmas, Arthur and the Invisibles, or Factory Girl — but they’re doing OK with 1408 and Sicko. Plus they’ve got some treats in store (Grace Is Gone is excellent, The Mist sounds great so far) for later this year. And maybe someday they’ll actually release Killshot, Teeth and Rogue and make a few dollars off of ’em. Still it’s tough to feel bad for the guys who put money behind Who’s Your Caddy? and Hannibal Rising. Then again, Clerks 2 was pretty darn funny.
Anyway, yeah: Sin City 2. As the highway signs sometimes say: Expect delays.
Source: Dark Horizons